Tuesday 15 October 2019

Former American football star tackles armed student at US high school

Keanon Lowe has been praised for his actions.

Police are positioned outside Parkrose High School (Dave Killen/AP)
Police are positioned outside Parkrose High School (Dave Killen/AP)

By Gillian Flaccus, Associated Press

A former college American Football player tackled an armed student at a US high school.

Keanon Lowe, a football and track coach and a security guard at Parkrose High School, told reporters he was tired but relieved at the outcome, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Students recounted how the suspect entered their government class in the school’s fine arts building — separate from the main building — just before noon on Friday.

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Keanon Lowe was an analyst for the San Francisco 49ers and wide receiver at the University of Oregon (AP)

Mr Lowe had been in the classroom earlier looking for the student, whom other students identified as an 18-year-old senior at Parkrose.

About 10 minutes before the end of class, the student appeared in the doorway in a black trench coat and pulled out a long gun from beneath his coat, senior Justyn Wilcox, who also was in the room, told The Oregonian/OregonLive.

The student did not point the gun at anyone, Alexa Pope said.

The staff member did an excellent job by all accounts, (and) our officers arrived within minutes and went right in

“I’m just happy everyone was OK,” Mr Lowe said as he walked out of the school about four hours after the incident, according to The Oregonian/OregonLive.

“I’m happy I was able to be there for the kids and for the community.”

Parkrose School District Superintendent Michael Lopes Serrao said in a letter to families on Friday evening that before the incident two students had informed a staff member of “concerning behaviour” by that student.

Security staff then responded, found the student and quickly disarmed him, he said.

“Thanks to their heroic efforts all students and staff are safe,” Mr Lopes Serrao wrote.

Sergeant Brad Yakots said the first responding officers found the
gunman being detained by the staff member in the hallway. A firearm was recovered at the school, he added.

The outcome was “the best-case scenario, absolutely,” he said.

“The staff member did an excellent job by all accounts, (and) our officers arrived within minutes and went right in.”

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Students gather outside Parkrose High School (Dave Killen/AP)

In college, Mr Lowe was a star wide receiver at the University of Oregon, playing from 2011 to 2014. He caught 10 touchdown passes in his college career and had nearly 900 receiving yards.

After college, he worked as an offensive analyst for the San Francisco 49ers and as an analyst for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Mr Lowe began working at Parkrose last year as the school’s head football and track and field coach, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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